We’re at heart of it all, including classic Buttress cycle challenge!

Ready to roll...South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival 2013
Ready to roll...South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival 2013

With the Grand Depart of the Tour De France 2014 now less than a year away, one of the aims of this year’s South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival is to whet the appetites of cyclists everywhere with some of the events.

And for riders and walkers alike, there are a host of scenic and wider-themed activities planned over the region between Saturday, September 7, and Sunday, September 22, and the Calder Valley is right at the heart of it.

The cycling events are designed to appeal to all from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts and also offer spectators the chance to get close to the action.

Organised by Pennine Prospects, two short films - “Le Grand Depart” and “The Magic Tenner” - have been comissioned to showcase the landscape and the part it will play next July when the Tour comes to Yorkshire.

Also on the agenda is the popular “Up The Buttress” event in Hebden Bridge, which takes place on the famous cobbled climb on the opening day, Saturday, September 7, from 1pm to 5pm.

Described as the hardest and steepest 350 metres climb out of the town, it usually also attracts a good crowd to watch.

This year there will be an “elite” challenge for those wishing to start from the bridge at the bottom of The Buttress. Local businesses are providing prizes and among those supporting it are the Todmorden-based Singletrack cycling magazine. Information about registering for Up The Buttress can be found on www.singletrackworld.com or you can turn up on the day and register at the desk before 1pm - it’s at the bottom of the Buttress on Hangingroyd Lane.

With more than 150 events for walkers and riders, who also include horse riders, this year’s festival is the biggest yet, offering something for everyone. Taking in a range of topics from a bat evening at Jerusalem Farm, Booth, to a Stoodley Pike heritage walk at Todmorden, there are lots to choose from.

AS well as details at local information centre outlets, you can also log on to www.walkandridefestival.co.uk to see the full list of activities.